For Instructors

Are You Aerobic or Anerobic? ... How About Both?

I had an interesting request from a student the other day. She had been to one of my orientations and was confused as to which energy systems she was using at each exercise intensity. Her next question she gave me led to her aha moment. She asked, ?When am I totally anaerobic?? Her major concern was determining when she was anaerobic and when she was aerobic and wanted to make sure she used the terms properly. She thought that she would be in one or the other system. Her belief was that they cannot coexist during exercise. Well they can. The human body doesn?t flip a switch and go from aerobic to anaerobic processing. Regardless of the intensity, we are always operating in both systems. Rather than a switch, I encouraged her to think of it as a teeter totter. Where aerobic processing is on one end and anaerobic processing is on the other. However, I told her that both ends remain off the ground and are never at zero nor are they at 100% at any time. When we work at a higher intensity effort, we rely more upon the anaerobic side of the teeter totter. Conversely, at lower intensities, the aerobic system is the predominant process at work. We are always somewhere along the continuum between aerobic and anaerobic processing to create the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) we need to provide the energy we need for muscular contraction, breathing, and the maintenance of all of our physiological processes that happen within our remarkable bodies. The level of intensity of our efforts just dictates how much of each system we use. blog written by Ralph Mlady for community.spinning.com 3/31/2011
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